General News of Thu, 30 Jun 2016212

Ken Agyapong hot over sexist comments

The New Patriotic Party [NPP] Member of Parliament for Assin Central, Kennedy Agyapong has courted the ire of Ghanaians, following his unguarded vituperations against the Chairperson of the Electoral Commission, Charlotte Osei.

The maverick legislator during the weekend went crackers, disgorging scathing attack on the EC chairperson, insinuating that she was appointed in exchange for sex.

Addressing NPP supporters at Asokwa, a suburb of Kumasi in the Ashanti Region, he alleged that some powerful people in the John Dramani Mahama government told Mrs Osei -“bring your buttocks in exchange of EC chair position,” according Kumasi-based Ultimate FM.

“If indeed Nana Addo (the party’s presidential candidate) wins according to the pink sheets and Charlotte Osei dares to rig the elections by twisting our arms in favour of the ruling National Democratic Congress (NDC), we will not allow it to happen in Ghana,” he added.

Slamming Ken Agyapong for his misogynistic comment, the founding President of IMANI Centre for Policy and Education, Franklin Cudjoe said Mrs Osei wasn’t the type to trade her body for a mere appointment.

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He said: “Mrs. Charlotte Osei, the current EC boss is not lazy and she is not dumb and she definitely won’t trade her body for excellence.” He said it was to disagree with the performance of the Mrs Osei at the EC, but insinuating she was appointment to chair the commission in exchange for sex was inappropriate.

“It is regrettable, if true, the derogatory comments allegedly made by a sitting MP about her womanhood. Some of us do in fact believe Charlotte is not doing well as current EC boss and I am very surprised given her stellar performance as the recent boss of the NCCE,” he stated in a statement issued Tuesday.

Nana Oye Lithur, Minister for Gender and Social Protection in a Facebook post demanded Ken Agyapong to apologise to the Ghanaian public and Mrs Osei.

According to her, his comments were chauvinistically insulting and regrettable, thus the need for him to be apologetic, urging him to, per the office he holds, be seen promoting non-discrimination, respect for human dignity and gender equality by his comments and conduct.

“What you said was very wrong,” Said Oye Lithur, adding “do the honourable thing and apologise. Be man enough to apologise. Be true to our Ghanaian values and respect our women.” Minister for Foreign Affairs and Regional Integration, Hanna Serwa Tetteh, described Ken Agyapong’s attacks on Mrs. Osei as a “vicious personal attack [and] is most unfortunate.”

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She said on Monday in a Facebook Post that: “The Chairperson of the Electoral Commission is a qualified lawyer who has worked as a competent professional throughout her legal career and who also is the immediate past Chairperson of the National Commission for Civic education.

“To suggest that she had no competence to be appointed Electoral Commissioner and to subject her to a vicious personal attack is most unfortunate.

“Any citizen can complain about the Electoral Commission, the way they are executing their mandate and preparing towards the upcoming elections. Those are the benefits of living in a democracy, but the personal attacks on the EC Chairperson are uncalled for, and are designed to undermine her credibility and her leadership of the organization.

“No political party is contesting elections against the electoral commission, we should not undermine the integrity of the organization or the Chairperson on the back of allegations that have not, and most likely cannot be substantiated,” Mrs Tetteh added.

Despite the unpleasant nature of Ken Agyapong’s comment, the NPP said it wasn’t going to condemn it. The party’s Deputy Communications Director, Anthony Karbo, told Accra-based Kasapa FM that Ken Agyapong’s comments didn’t reflect the party’s position, saying “I don’t think the party needs to come into this matter and I don’t think the party will go into this matter.

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“I don’t have evidence of what Ken is alleging, maybe he has. The media must call him and demand of him the evidence he has to his allegation. He may be able to produce it.” Mr. Karbo’s explanation, however, did little to stop him from accusing those calling for the NPP to sanction the Assin Central MP of hypocrisy.

“When the NDC’s Halidu Haruna said unmarried women above 30 years are prostitutes, the party was out there supporting him. When Ursula Owusu suffered verbal attacks, no highly placed woman in government, such as Gender Minister, Nana Oye Lithur said a word about that” he said.

Charlotte Osei is the country’s first female chair of the Electoral Commission, taking over from its long-serving chairman, Dr Kwadwo Afari Gyan. She had previously worked as the head of the National Commission for Civic Education (NCCE). She was appointed by President Mahama and sworn in on June 30, 2015.

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